Organisation and administration for probation

There is diversity in the administrative systems of probation in different states. In some states, the probation departments are under the control of the social welfare departments, in some others under the prison departments, in one state (Madhya Pradesh) under law department, and in one state (Karnataka) it functions as an independent department.

The states in which probation is under the control of social welfare departments are: Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi.

The states in which it is under the control of the prison departments are: Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Bihar, Bengal and Punjab. In Maharashtra and Gujarat, probation department functions as a semi-government department.


The Director, Social Welfare Department or Inspector General, ‘ rison Department is the administrative in-charge at the state level. He is listed by Chief Probation Officer. Some states have appointed Regional Probation Officers also.

Probation Officer functions at the district level states have the system of appointing Assistant Probation Officers also, while a few have the practice of appointing part-time probation officers too.

Diversity in the administrative systems of probation has raised some crucial questions. Is it better to have probation controlled by a court or by a non-judicial agency? Experts on the subject have differing answers to this question. Some have argued that probation can be better protected from inefficiency when it is not managed by the social welfare departments but is controlled by the courts.

Others have argued that the success of probation requires flexibility in approach and courts do not permit that kind of flexibility but are rather rigid. Besides, the judges have neither the time nor the training to enable them to assume responsibility for administering probation.


The prison department being generally considered a corrupt department cannot be expected to contribute to its successful functioning.

It may therefore be said that probation departments should function as independent departments. What is important for the success of the probation services is the appointment of really committed persons as probation officers who are willing to work as social workers.

Equally necessary are programmes like:

(a) Training of probation officers from time to time,


(b) Holding periodical meetings of probation officers at the state level for discussing problems of mutual interest,

(c) Developing uniform standards for probation services,

(d) Investigating and evaluating the work of probation officers,

(e) Collecting, analysing and publishing statistical information and other facts regarding probation work in the state, and


(f) Furnishing special services like psychiatric examination in areas where probation officers are unable to arrange such services.

Inter-state contacts regarding reciprocity in the supervision of probationers is equally important. Transfer of probationers from one state to another may be necessary in special cases. Rules may be framed to make such transfers possible.